Baramulla decongestion project left midway

The project was mooted around two decades ago but apart from demolishing around 30 structures for widening the town’s narrow lanes in 2016 at Kakarhamam mohalla no work has commenced, residents complain.

ALTAF BABA
Baramulla, Publish Date: Jan 10 2019 11:59PM | Updated Date: Jan 10 2019 11:59PM
Baramulla decongestion project left midwayFile Photo

A much hyped project for decongesting old town Baramulla, aimed at easing the lives of its residents has not moved beyond demolishing a number of structures some two years back.

The project was mooted around two decades ago but apart from demolishing around 30 structures for widening the town’s narrow lanes in 2016 at Kakarhamam mohalla no work has commenced, residents complain.

“We have lost hope. We have been hearing about the decongestion plan for 20 years but there has been no development so far,” said Majid Ahmad, of Jalal Sahib mohalla of Baramulla.

According to officials of Roads and Buildings department responsible for executing the project, the decongestion plan is divided in two phases.

In phase one, a ring road from Azad Gunj grid station to Kakarhamam, and a perpendicular road from Cement Bridge touching this ring road at Syed Karim mohalla will be constructed.

In the second phase, a shopping complex at the site of the demolished structures at Kakarhamam is to be constructed to accommodate affected shopkeepers.

“Around 142 shops will be dismantled as per the decongestion plan and they will be absorbed in the proposed shopping complex. Besides ring road, several inner links will be widened so that in case of any emergency help will reach without any obstacle,” said Abdul Rashid, Executive Engineer R&B Baramulla.

The residents however have lost hope hearing about the project for around two decades without much work done.

“It was around two decades back when decongestion of old town Baramulla was mooted by then PDP government. But the project has not kick-started,” said Ali Muhammad, a resident of old town Baramulla.

The affected families of Kakarhamam whose residential houses were demolished as part of the decongestion project accuse the administration of not compensating them fully.

Five marla land already decided as part of their rehabilitation has not been provided so far.

“We agreed on certain conditions before administration dismantled our homes. The main condition was that the affected families will be provided five marlas land as part of rehabilitation, and another was that the each affected family will be provided a shop in the proposed shopping complex,” said Khurshid Ahmad Khan, an affected resident.

“Most of the affected families are living from rented accommodations with the hope that government will provide them land for constructing new homes.”

Old town Baramulla was a business hub during the pre-Partition era. Goods used to arrive via river Jhelum into the town and then distributed to other parts of the Kashmir valley.

However, population growth brought about the town extending to civil line area came and the old town fell off to neglect by successive regimes.

The area however kept becoming congested bringing its packed residents many hardships.

“Be it a fire incident or any eventuality; help never reaches in time due to the narrow lanes. Most of the people here have remained anti-establishment, with the result that administration as well as political parties don’t see it as a priority to lift the standard of local population,” said Ghulam Rasool, another resident of the old town of Baramulla.

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